Sean Marks has a reputation, as does the Nets front office in general, of being active, even aggressive. The turnover in the Nets roster year after year is a testament to that. But still, everyone needs vacation coming and that’s where Marks is headed after Summer League.
Does that add to the impression that there’s nothing much going on with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving? Pretty much. Across the league, pundits are saying that the Nets are so unimpressed with offers for KD that things are at a standstill, at least for Durant.
“At this point, the Nets’ preferred situation is for Kevin Durant to stay with them. There is no trade they they’ve got that they like,” said Brian Windhorst on The Spun.
Or as Jerry West said earlier this week on SiriusXM Radio, “For him to want out, I can see why. I can see why. But, again, wherever he goes – or to — my guess: He’s not getting traded. You can’t give enough to get a guy like Kevin Durant.”
There have been intermittent reports about what the offers might look like. In recent days, Frank Isola, the YES Network and Sirius XM analyst, has suggested there could be outstanding offers for both players.
Friday, he tweeted that a deal with the Heat centered on Irving-for-Kyle Lowry was “not out of the question” and in a conversation with Mina Kimes of ESPN on Pardon the Interruption, Isola added that he had heard the Raptors have offered a package including Pascal Siakem, OG Ananoby (but not Scottie Barnes) and four first round picks. Still, he and Kimes believe that Durant will be with the Nets next season, something both Ian Eagle, Isola’s YES Network colleague, and Adrian Wojnarowski have also said is not impossible, maybe even likely.
And Jake Fischer reported Saturday on a podcast that, “From my conversations with people in the league, seems pretty clear Kyrie’s accepting the fact that he is overwhelmingly likely to be back in Brooklyn.”
There were two seminal events this week that should be noted as things wind down in Vegas. The Suns matched the Pacers offer sheet on DeAndre Ayton, a four-year, $133 million commitment that basically took Phoenix out of the KD Sweepstakes. The Suns were reported as Durant’s preferred destination.
“For Phoenix, it probably leaves them without the assets to be competitive for a Kevin Durant trade.” as Woj said. Bobby Marks (no relation to Sean) added that “[The Suns] are not eliminated but it certainly does complicate a lot of things here with Durant.”
And Brian Lewis reported that Irving plans to play for the Nets this coming season.
“Here is the situation. He opted in, which means he had and he has every intention of playing with the Brooklyn Nets. KD decides he wants out and now everybody is talking about trading Kyrie, right?,” the source close to Irving told Lewis.
Meanwhile, across the NBA galaxy, there are flickers of teams and players making plans in case the Nets take a new round of calls. With the Suns decision to keep Ayton, the Pacers along with the Spurs now have $30 million in cap space each to help facilitate trades for Durant or Donovan Mitchell who’s also on the market, apparently. L.J. Ellis of Spurs Talk reports the Spurs hope to “rent” their cap space in return for draft picks. Ellis wrote:
The Spurs are actively looking to rent out their cap space in exchange for draft capital. With All-Stars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell on the trade market, the Spurs are hoping to be handsomely rewarded for helping to facilitate the acquisition of one of those big names.
In one scenario Ellis mentioned, the Spurs would take on Russell Westbrook in a three-way deal with the Nets and Lakers. San Antonio would get draft compensation from L.A. with the Lakers getting Kyrie Irving and the Nets possibly Josh Richardson and Jakob Pöltl, the Spurs’ 7’1” center.
But the extent to which the Nets and Lakers are talking remains a bit of a mystery.
“They did touch base but there’s not been ongoing discussions,” said Woj on Friday.
“Los Angeles has engaged Brooklyn in trade talks in recent weeks to attempt to acquire Irving in a deal that would send Russell Westbrook to the Nets,” Dave McMenamin wrote Saturday. “Thus far, those talks have not progressed toward an agreement.”
In Miami, Fischer reports on that same podcast that Miami has interest in building a stockpile of draft picks that could be used again in a trade for Durant or Mitchell.
“Miami is trying to go find multiple picks to either send to a Utah for Donovan Mitchell or to send to Brooklyn for Kevin Durant,” he said but didn’t provide any details on who Miami might be talking to.
Finally, on Saturday, Woj reported Westbrook’s long-time agent, Thad Foucher, have split over “irreconcilable differences,” In short, Foucher thinks it’s wiser for Westbrook to stay in L.A., his hometown, while Westbrook reportedly prefers a trade and perhaps a buyout. Foucher noted that he helped Westbrook engineer previous trades but is not interested in doing another.
So, the Nets play their final Summer League game tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET vs the Celtics. Whatever progress pundits thought could occur at the annual gathering of GMs has not and it’s not likely we’ll see much activity with Sean Marks on vacation.
As more than one pundit has said, this could take weeks or months.